Electronic Cigarettes: the Future of Smoking?
Today, if you were to sit at a bar on the Lower East Side, you may find yourself next to a guy smoking a light-up plastic tube that smells like cherries and think to yourself, even Humphrey Bogart couldn’t make one of those look cool. Or if you haven’t seen the 1941 film, Casablanca, you may still chuckle a bit. But could these vaping devices be the future of smoking? Author Andrew Stuttaford in his article, “Vaper Strain” published by the National Review in 2013, addresses the topic of these electronic cigarettes, arguing that these healthy alternatives are, in fact, the future of smoking. He ...view middle of the document...
After getting his audience’s attention, Stuttaford transitions from making fun of e-cigarettes, to explaining why they are a much safer alternative compared to traditional cigarettes. As he explains in reference to Casablanca, even though Rick would have laughed, Bogie died at 57 (Stuttaford 21).
Stuttaford starts off his second paragraph referring to traditional cigarettes as “cancer sticks” (21). He explains that e-cigarettes contain “no carbon monoxide, no tar, [and] very little…of tobacco smoking’s carcinogenic stew” (21). Stuttaford doesn’t give much explanation for what these ingredients are or what they mean in the context of his argument. For a reader who doesn’t know much about cigarettes, these arguments are weak because Stuttaford just tosses out a few big scientific words that are meaningless to the ill-informed. He also references a 2009 study that revealed the level of TSNAs in an e-cigarette is about one-nine-hundredth of the level inside a Joe Camel cigarette. Again, Stuttaford neither explains what TSNAs are, nor their relevance in his argument, he just assumes his audience understand that they’re bad. Azhar Javed, in his arcticle, “E-cigarettes rising, but risks still unknown,” avoids the science of cigarettes and simply explains that while e-cigarettes may contain some “harmful substances, the levels of toxicants were nine to 450 times lower than in cigarette smoke” (57). While Stuttaford’s arguments tend to only be valuable to readers well educated on cigarettes and their content, Javed was able to put the scientific explanation in layman’s terms, appealing to a larger audience.
When acknowledging the debate over nicotine, Stuttaford only addresses the argument that nicotine is bad because it is highly addictive. He replies that “[d]ivorced from its leafy accomplice, nicotine is not that addictive” (21). He also quotes John Britton, the leader of Britain’s Royal College of Physicians, as saying that under those circumstances, nicotine isn’t even a “particularly hazardous” drug (Stuttaford 21). However, the addictiveness of nicotine may not be the biggest problem. In a CNN report in December of 2013, the molecular pharmacology professor at Brown University, Chi Ming Hai, exposed heart cells to nicotine. He found that nicotine acts as "a kind of cancer of the blood vessel,” meaning that the nicotine in e-cigarettes may not cause lung cancer, but users will still have a high risk heart disease (Christensen). While Stuttaford addresses arguments against e-cigarettes, he seems to do so by picking and choosing his arguments carefully, avoiding bigger concerns.
Stuttaford loves to reference the FDA in his article. When discussing the debate over propylene glycol and it’s relation to anti-freeze – knowing that many people use propylene glycol to connect e-cigarettes to the unnatural green chemical used in their vehicles – he references the use of propylene glycol in drugs, cosmetics, and even food. He notes that the FDA...